2020 has been a challenging and unusual year, but books continued to be an important source of solace, education, and entertainment for BookBub members. As the year draws to a close, we want to continue our annual tradition of highlighting some examples of the excellent advertising campaigns our partners ran to get their books into the hands of our readers.
The following BookBub Ads campaigns represent a variety of successful strategies across different genres, book prices, and book formats. We hope they offer some insights and inspiration for your own advertising in 2021!
Avanti Centrae, Solstice Shadows
Avanti ran a massive campaign for the preorder and new release of Solstice Shadows, a connected standalone in the VanOps thriller series. She tested dozens of individual author targets and many different ad images, but three of the campaigns that drove the most clicks targeted her existing readers. She set up campaigns targeting her own fans across all regions and retailers using each of the above images. From left to right, the click-through rates (CTRs) were 2.93%, 2.26%, and 2.37%, and they collectively generated over 11,000 clicks in three months. She used cost-per-click (CPC) bidding for each of these campaigns and paid $0.48 per click.
Paige Press LLC, The Deal by Stella Gray
This ad for a free first-in-series makes it clear from the sensual imagery and simple copy that the reader is in for a steamy romance — and that once they finish the first book, the rest of the series is ready and waiting for them! This ad was part of a series of campaigns targeting individual authors and isolating readers on specific retailers. One of the most successful versions used the above image and targeted the fans of a single dark romance author on Barnes & Noble. This version has been running since mid-May and currently has a 5.5% CTR, a $0.37 effective cost-per-click (eCPC), and over 8,200 clicks and counting.
Knopf, Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
These ads from Knopf leveraged BookBub Ads to drive exposure for a buzzy new release. They set up two campaigns, with images emphasizing praise from different publications and highlighting the book’s “instant bestseller” status, targeting the fans of nine authors, including those of the book’s author, Yaa Gyasi. Knopf set a high CPM bid to ensure they would win a large number of impressions, and together, these ads served just shy of 100,000 impressions in the first month after Transcendent Kingdom was released.
Grace Palmer, No Home Like Nantucket
This ad for a $4.99 first-in-series is an excellent example of a long-term campaign to drive steady sales. Grace started this continuous campaign for her “feel good beach read” in mid-May, and it’s still going strong! The ad has generated nearly 6,000 clicks to date with a CTR of 0.66%. Grace used CPC bidding, and her average eCPC is only $0.30. Grace targeted her own readers, as well as those of nine similar authors. She designed the ad image with our in-form creative builder (which now has some brand new design options you can try!), setting the scene and the mood with the ad copy and her charming cover.
Rhett C. Bruno, Titanborn
To push a limited-time free sale for his first-in-series Titanborn, Rhett leaned on narrow author targeting and copy that compared his book to two popular sci-fi TV shows. Using comparisons to other media is a strategy we’ve found to be effective in our Featured Deal blurbs, too. During the week the book was free, Rhett set up six campaigns, each targeting one author with a high CPM bid, and tested three different images that proved equally engaging. He included links to Amazon US, UK, and Canada. The ads averaged a 14% CTR, driving over 1,200 clicks with an average eCPC of just $0.10.
Dusty Sharp, Blood Brothers
This campaign for a first-in-series Chirp audiobook highlights a $0.99 deal price, which is a very effective price for driving high CTRs and conversion rates in ad campaigns. Dusty created two ads targeting Chirp members using this image, each with a different set of author targets and low CPC bids. Both versions drove similar CTRs of 1.44% with $0.07 eCPCs. Overall, the two ads reached a total of 360,000 Chirp members and drove over 5,000 clicks over seven months. Because we have sales data for Chirp audiobooks, we were able to attribute 870 sales to these campaigns, which is a click-to-sale conversion rate of 17%.
Note: We introduced BookBub Ads on Chirp this year as an avenue for partners to promote their Chirp audiobooks at any time. Learn more about running ads for audiobooks.
Harlequin, Tough Guy by Rachel Reid
This ad for a gay romance from Harlequin is all about the tropes — the copy highlights both the “opposites attract” element and the fact that it’s a hockey romance. This campaign targeted fans of authors who write gay romance or hockey romance, and also included Contemporary Romance and LGBT category targeting to ensure it reached the most relevant readers in those authors’ audiences. Harlequin used a high CPC bid to promote this $4.99 book, reaching nearly 68,000 readers across all retailers. Over the course of the two weeks the ad was live, it had a 3.14% click-through rate with over 2,000 clicks.
Doubleday, The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian
This campaign for a new release from Doubleday served 2.7 million impressions, giving it a huge amount of exposure during the month after the book’s release date. The ad targeted BookBub members across all retailers who were subscribed to Thrillers, Crime Fiction, Women’s Fiction, or Romantic Suspense, using a high CPC bid. This broad targeting meant that the CTR was only 0.14%, but the exposure paid off — nearly 4,000 readers clicked to learn more during those critical few weeks post-release.
R.J. Blain, Grave Humor
R.J.’s campaigns for Grave Humor speak to the power of thorough testing; she set up and tested nearly 30 campaigns for this book, each with a single author target. This creative was perfectly tailored to its target audience, though it doesn’t include some of the elements we typically see in ad images (a book cover, a call-to-action button). The most effective test campaign drove nearly a 12% CTR with 560 clicks from Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble readers over four days. Even with a high CPM bid, the stellar engagement on this ad meant that R.J.’s eCPC was only $0.18 — an excellent rate for a $5.99 book! Grave Humor is a standalone in an 18-book series, and R.J. estimates this campaign resulted in over $10,000 in profit from sales across the whole series.
Knopf, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
This ad for another new release from Knopf puts most of the focus on this glowing quote from author David Mitchell. We have a lot of evidence that author quotes drive engagement — Featured Deal clicks are 23% higher if we include a quote from a well-known author in the blurb, and 76% of BookBub readers buy books after getting recommendations from authors they like. This campaign targeted the fans of three authors and limited the audience to readers who were also subscribed to our Historical Fiction category. The ad ran for 10 days after the book’s release, serving 107,000 impressions and driving over 1,000 clicks. Knopf used CPM bidding, but the ad’s engagement was high enough that it was cost-effective, with an eCPC below $1.
Sophie Davis, Dark Court: Fire Fae (The Complete Series)
Sophie Davis relied on the strong fantasy branding of the series cover images and the “free with Kindle Unlimited” offer for this box set ad. We’ve seen that any ad including the word “free” tends to drive high CTRs, and this campaign was no different. Shortly after releasing this box set, Sophie began running a series of continuous campaigns targeting individual authors using a high CPM bid and a $10 daily budget. These campaigns earned 6,200 clicks across all versions, with the best-performing author target leading to 3,300 clicks over two months at a CTR of over 10%. The high engagement across all author targets kept the average cost-per-click low despite the high CPM bids.
Leighann Dobbs, Lexy Baker Cozy Mystery Boxed Set: Books 1–4
In this straightforward ad image, Leighann included just the cover of her audio box set and its low price point. She set a CPM bid on the higher end of our average range and targeted her own listeners on Chirp, an audience which includes any Chirp members who have clicked on her books in the Chirp deal emails or on the website. This campaign drove over 925 clicks for a 2.36% CTR at $0.08 per click and an incredible 45% conversion rate, resulting in nearly 420 sales of the box set on Chirp over just four days.
What questions do you have about BookBub Ads? What about it would you like us to cover on the Partners Blog in 2021? Let us know in the comments below!
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